TOO often we confuse listening with hearing and looking with seeing. We believe that if one is listening that one absorbing what is being said, or that if one is looking one is seeing what is going on. But herein lies the difference, we can hear without actually listening, and look without actually seeing. Why else would so many parents, guardians, family and friends ignore the sexual abuse that is constantly happening right in-front of them? Our children, find the courage to confide in us that something is being done to them, they tell us who is touching them and where, they plead with us to believe and without even looking into it, or supporting or validating them in some form or fashion, we ignore them, we silence them, we call them liars, tell them they are making things up, we ask them to remain silent to protect their abuser or the family. We let their abusers continue to abuse them and we sit back and do nothing. Sometimes we are spineless, hoping someone else will step in and do what we are to afraid to do. Sometimes we don’t know how to act because the situation is horrific and we are unsure of what our plan of action should be. Remember, these are children; they depend on us for safety and protection. A child is born and we make an unspoken promise to do our best to help them navigate life, to keep them safe, happy, and worry free.
It takes a lot of strength for any survivor of sexual violence to speak up and out. We often question why an adult survivor said nothing after her assault, think then of what a child goes through and how much strength it takes for her/him to come forward. We shatter their trust in the world and in people by silencing them. We tell them that we don’t believe them, or we show them that we do not care enough to look into what they have said. Children have no way of having the details about sexual intercourse at such early ages unless they have been exposed to something they shouldn’t have been. Where do we think they have amassed their wealth of knowledge in this area. What television show do we think they have watched? Part of what we need to do as parents is start listening and stop hearing, become an active participant in the conversations you have with your children, absorb what is being said to you and become an active participant in helping to save your children.
A child who is being sexually abused displays certain signs. So many of our young survivors try to tell us with the ways they change, the behaviuors they adopt, the ways they act out. We should see the change in them when their abusers come around. We should see the change in them when someone touches them and they flinch. Sexual abuse doesn’t leave anyone unscathed.
I am asking you to see what is happening, notice the signs of sexual abuse. I want you to stop looking and ignoring or not noticing what exactly is happening to your children. The evidence is left, we just have to take the time to see. The bed-wetting, the strange marks that appear in areas that are private, the sudden behavioural problems and mood changes are signs we need to start paying attention to. We have been forsaking our children’s youth because we have been eager not to acknowledge what is happening to them. We hope that if we pretend not to see what is happening that it will really not be happening. Closing your eyes, ignoring the pain and suffering your children are being subjected to will not stop it from happening, nor will it make them believe it didn’t happen or forget it happened.
I will acknowledge the strength it takes for you, the parents, guardian, extended family or friend to do something, I will acknowledge that not knowing what to do and where to turn is something that so many deal with. However, lack of action is not an option, it is not acceptable and it makes you guilty of allowing it to continue. You may have been a survivor yourself and had no-one to help you and as such don’t know what to do, please do some research, help your children. Victims of sexual violence who don’t get the support and validation they need suffer with a lifetime of issues. Don’t let that be your child continue to be a victim.
Please do your part to help address sexual violence in St. Lucia. Please participate in our up coming study. We need the statistics to get the help. We need to show there is a problem because too many believe there isn’t one. We at PROSAF, are always here to listen and support you. Feel free to contact us via the information below. If you are interested in becoming a sexual assault advocate please contact us further information. Remember you are not alone. You are strong and brave. You will get through your healing process but it takes time and patience. We are here to help and listen. Feel free to contact us if you ever need a place to offload or vent.
We can be contact by via the information below:
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